Monday, March 31, 2014


And that is what happens after a couple of semi-warm days and some rain. By Sunday morning there was nothing left except for a seriously saturated ground (due to the 2" of rain, not the melted snowman). By Sunday dinner, however, another half-inch of snow had accumulated on the grass. Sigh. Will this ever end?

Friday, March 28, 2014


This is what I came home to on Tuesday. Tuesday, March 25th. What kind of magic do we need to do in order to shoo away winter? Because whatever it is, I'll do it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

More About Rhett

This kid. In so many ways, still such a baby. In so many others, a big kid!

The Good: Rhett really seems to know right from wrong, and he usually wants to do the right thing. He is a good friend to those at school, and the other kids seem to really like him. There are moments where it seems like the things we are trying to teach him are sinking in. His reading is really coming along. It's fun to be out and about, and he'll just ask what random words are, or what they mean. He and Ollie can be such good friends. When we put them to bed around 7:15, they are allowed to stay up until 8. They mostly just read books in bed, but sometimes we hear them playing or doing who-knows-what. He's become a much better eater as of late. He'll try most things and and has learned to eat things that are not his favorite. This is a major milestone for him. He is always making something out of paper. It could be a "good list," a schedule for our day, or just weird hats, crowns, or dioramas.

The Weird: He LOVES nutcrackers. LOVES. He talks to them, plays with them, denies all requests to put them away until next Christmas. I honestly have no idea where this addiction came from.

The Bad: He is a hoarder! The kid will grab stuff from the trash and hide it in the library, which he thinks is his secret place. And when I say "trash," I mean trash: empty cereal boxes, empty chip bags, little scraps of paper, whatever. So usually I have to go in and clean it up without him knowing. He's none the wiser. Tantrums! I'm shocked that at six years old, I'm still dealing with these from him. Sometimes it seems that he cries more than Ollie does. Maybe we didn't do a good job teaching him emotions management, but man, I am so done with these. So done. They do seem to be decreasing in frequency, however.

Overall, Chuck and I feel very lucky to have such a healthy, fun, energetic boy in our family.

Why yes, those are almonds taped to the bookshelf. Doesn't everyone decorate with hanging almonds?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Birthday Weekend

I really wish that we could contain a birthday to just one day. I know it's up to me, but really, it just doesn't seem possible. Maybe next year.

We started the celebrations on Friday with early-morning present opening. We gave Rhett a watch (he's obsessed with knowing the time) and some Lego people. He got Legos for Christmas, but didn't play with them much. I can safely say now that all he needed was the little Lego guys. He also got some good books, a remote-controlled car (that he loves), money, and clothes. After playing with Legos all morning, it was off to school! Ollie and I dropped by his lunch with cupcakes for his classmates. They were adorable, if not a little greedy. But I guess (I hope) that comes with the age.

Immediately after school we whisked the boys and Rhett's friend Madeleine to Baltimore and a visit to its children's museum.

Saturday was a low-key morning followed by our babysitting group at our house. We had planned it that way so that we could call it a party, but not have all the work of inviting people. We had a gorgeous day so spent the first hour at the playground, then we got to eat pizza outside, and then more playing, ending with some TV. Perfect. Aren't these kids adorable?

Sunday was another low-key morning before church and then a dinner with our local family. It doesn't sound like much, but it was enough for me.

Six. The boy is six. Only one-third to adulthood!

P.S. And for anyone who has the time, here's his yearly interview. And if he'd only answer the questions a teensy bit more quickly, it would been forty seconds, instead of four minutes.

Friday, March 21, 2014


It should be pretty obvious that I love schedules and routines. I guess I'm like a little kid in this. But March, whoa. It's been anything but routine.

Normally, my life consists of:
early-morning runs on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays
track workouts with the girls on Thursday nights
long runs on Saturday mornings
Rhett at school every weekday
Chuck at work every weekday
regular church meetings
playgroup with Ollie on Friday
real dinners at the dining room table

But this March, my life consisted of:
later-morning, or even afternoon, runs
track workouts without the girls on Tuesdays
long runs on Saturday afternoons
Rhett not at school due to more snow days or sick days
Chuck at work, unless it's a snow day, but some days later because of testing in the schools
stake conference
lots of cancelled playgroups because of weather or illness
fake dinners all over the place, or even no dinner at all if we are sick

I know. It shouldn't be hard. And truthfully, it isn't that hard. It is, however, just enough to throw me off kilter a teensy bit. But after this insane weekend, I expect to return to my kilter. Monday you can expect a full post on birthday happenings (I have a six-year-old!) with pictures. Maybe even video.

P.S. Are you curious about our snow days? If so, read on: Our school system builds four snow days into the calendar, meaning our school year goes 184 days, not 180. However, we've had TEN snow days this winter, meaning we have to make up six of them so we can get our 180 days. Aye, but there's a rub. Our superintendent can apply (and has applied) for a waiver from the state exempting us from having to make up some or all of those days. In the past, if those snow days were declared states of emergency by the governor, the schools were granted these waivers. Remember snowmageddon (here, here, or here)? We didn't have to make up one day that year! So there's hope that we won't be in school through June 20th. We'll see.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Worst Weekend Ever

We had plans! Lots of fun plans! But when Chuck and I woke up totally sick on Saturday morning, our bodies made other plans for us. Plans like, letting the kids watch lots of TV while we rested. Plans like, eating only saltines, toast, and a Slurpee (none of which stayed in our bodies). Plans like, totally ignoring our very, very, very good children as they played and didn't fight. Um yeah, so other plans. Even Sunday was ruined by Rhett's puking. Poor buddy. (I will say that a nearly-six-year-old is much better at making it to a toilet when compared to a three-year-old. For this I am oh-so grateful.)

This might be the best thing that happened to me the entire weekend. I tried cutting fabric with my Silhouette. Success! It's part of my brother and sister-in-law's wedding gift, but it doesn't reveal too much. I could get very addicted to this!

And the worst thing this weekend did to us was to give us yet another snowstorm. March 17th and snow. Ridiculous. The only reason I'm not pulling out my hair is that it's March and hopefully it will melt away quickly. It better. Also, Chuck is off too. It could be worse.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Snapshots for the Mind

At least until the boys are both in school, I think I'll always have a hard time with motherhood. And who am I kidding? Probably even after. It doesn't mean I don't love my boys, it just means I don't love the ins and outs of mothering them. But I have been working on finding those joyful moments. I remember one from two Mondays ago, during what was hopefully our last snowstorm. Rhett had just gone down a sledding hill and then fell on the ground making a snow angel. It was a beautiful moment.

Then the other day, both boys were sitting at the little boys' table. Ollie took a big swig of milk, said a big, "Ahhhhhhhh," and then followed it with "BURP." He didn't actually burp, but rather, just said the word. We all enjoyed a good laugh.

And Wednesday, Ollie happily played with his salt. I love watching this child play so independently. I also love how long we let his hair grow.

I know these moments are rare, but knowing that they exist with probability greater than zero helps. And yes, I had to throw in math-speak because....

P.S. Happy Pi Day! So excited for strawberry crumble pie tonight.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Letter to My Representatives

Dear Congressman Van Hollen, Senator Cardin, Senator Mikulski, and heck, why not, President Obama:

My husband and I live in your respective districts. We live pretty regular, suburban lives. I am a part-time federal employee; my husband works for our local school system. We have two young sons. We are fortunate to have our jobs, our home, and especially each other. We are doing a good job taking care of ourselves.

At this point in our lives, I believe that the work you do has little effect on us. However, I would like to give you the opportunity to change that. And not only would you be changing our lives (for the better), but also the lives of many, many others. What is my proposal? Please please please introduce a bill to get rid of daylight saving time (DST). I'll even let you choose if you'd like to keep us on DST forever, or not; that matters not to me. I just want the time changing to stop.

Of course some people (like three or four) will argue against this. But don't listen to them; they're dummies. DST only has short-term benefits. In the spring, sure, who doesn't love the extra light in the evenings? But remember, time marches on and we would eventually catch up to that amount of daylight in the evenings. The research is clear: DST benefits no one anymore.

In conclusion, changing our clocks semi-annually is evil. It must be ended.


P.S. And to those of you who I may have called a "dummy," I apologize. I know you're not dumb. Just confused. Kidding! We'll just have to agree to disagree on this topic, however.

Monday, March 10, 2014

I Told You I'd Do It

Not only did I make the pi day banner, but I did it Friday night. And now every morning before the boys are allowed to eat breakfast, I have them place their hands on their hearts and repeat these digits.

Kidding. Really. I Promise.

P.S. I decided the t-shirts were a bit silly, but not for next year's big party. Oh no, next year the entire family will be sporting pi day shirts.

P.P.S. Oh, and I think we've decided on a strawberry crumble pie with some lemon verbena whipped cream. I have no idea what lemon verbena is, but I guess I'll find out.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Consider This Your Public Service Announcement

Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep...This is just your friendly reminder that next Friday, March 14, is Pi Day. Better start dusting off those pie cookbooks or perusing pinterest for the perfect pie recipe. And if you find it, let me know because I'm struggling to pick one. If it was up to Chuck, I'd make apple pie and only apple pie. If it was up to Rhett, I'd make Oreo pie. But it's not up to them. It's up to me. I just can't decide.

And remember there's more to Pi Day than just eating pie. Oh yes. I'm definitely running 3.14 miles that morning (but not in three minutes and fourteen seconds, sadly). Then I think I need a special shirt to match my special pi earrings. Hmmmm, why have I not done this yet? And a pi banner? How have I not made one of these? I smell some weekend projects...

P.S. Here is 2012's Pi Day wrap-up. And here was 2011. I have no idea what we did (or didn't do) last year. Wait--found it. Apparently we were quite busy and opted for simple oreo pie. It won't happen again. And don't forget next year's spectacular 3.1415 celebration that will be happening at our house. Save the date now, local friends! Or start saving for a trip to D.C. next year, non-local friends! This will be a non-missable event.

P.P.S. Thanks, wikihow, for clearing up how to shower, how to make people believe I'm British, and how to celebrate Pi Day.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Self-assessment: Prep for Winter Storm XIII

And here we are again: getting ready for Yet. Another. Snowstorm. Do you know how much I am dreading this? How much I am loathing it? How much I'd love to share this precip with the dried-out western U.S.? A LOT. After our thousands of storms this winter (a teensy bit of hyperbole, I'll grant you), you'd think we'd be ready. I'm going to grade us on how we did based on this rubric.

1. Firewood. Thought about it. Meant to do it. Thought we'd have time to get it after church, but the rain was just too yucky. Grade: F.

2. Baking supplies. Check. We even have blueberries, so maybe blueberry scones? Grade: A+ (the '+' is for the blueberries).

3. Adult refreshments. Check. Runts and severely-discounted Valentines Day cinnamon bears. Also, for Chuck, chips and some of that nasty "cheese." Grade: A.

4. Activities for the boys. Eh. I'm sure we've got something for them to do, right? If not, movies it is! Grade: C.

5. Activities for me. Check. I can work on a gift for a friend or my sister's Christmas gift. (I know; I'm awesome.) Grade: A.

6. Charged camera. As I typed this Sunday afternoon, no, but then it reminded me to do so, so yes. Grade: B+.

Overall our GPA was a 2.883. Eek. That's not good. Better luck next time (which better be in late, late 2014, if not 2015 if not never).

P.S. As of Sunday morning, the models were predicting 8-12". But thanks to my fasting, Chuck later informed me we were then in a 4-8" band. And maybe I'm kidding about fasting for it. I'll let you be the judge.

P.P.S. Thinking of warmer times...